April is “Pet First Aid” month so I thought we would take this opportunity to talk about first aid kits, care giving measures, and some of the more common injuries that can occur. The most important thing is to have a plan in case of emergency. The name and number of your dog’s vet and the nearest 24 hour veterinarian emergency response service should be on your phone and posted in a common area in your house. Many of us like using the backside of a kitchen cabinet or door for the posting of numbers to use in the event of an emergency.

First aid kits can be purchased pre-made or can be created at home. Depending on how and where one’s dog is active, it might be a good idea to have a first aid kit for home and another for in the car. A good first aid kit will contain a pocket reference guide – and a place for emergency numbers, gauze, non-stick bandages, adhesive tape, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, scissors, tweezers, magnifying glass, syringe, flashlight, muzzle, latex gloves, travel bowls, and an extra leash with collar.

When an incident occurs, the first thing to do is evaluate your surroundings for situational awareness. Is the immediate environment safe from automobiles, people, and other animals. Does your pet need to be moved to minimize the chance of further danger? When your dog is hurt, they are more than likely in pain and scared. To render aid, you must first protect yourself because a hurt animal is inclined to bite. Always try to place a muzzle on your dog for self-protection. Wash your hands before and after touching any wound and preferably, wear latex gloves when examining an open wound.

Okay – this isn’t meant to be a medical encyclopedia – so this is where having a reference guide in your first aid kit comes in handy. Caring for a pet is a responsibility so we encourage you to know how to treat the following common injuries: bruises, minor cuts, insect bites, bee stings, ticks, sprains, bites from other animals, and mild bleeding.

NEVER give human medicine to a dog unless directed so by a veterinarian, and it’s not a bad idea to learn how to do CPR on your pet. CPR guidelines are different depending on the size of the breed, so this a conversation best had with your veterinarian at your dog’s next checkup.

If you have any questions about where to find commercial first aid kits, how to assess your environment in an emergency, or recognizing common dog injuries, please stop in and speak to one of our pet specialists. If you need to discuss further, you know the deal… I am only a bark away 😊.